Gotta Go A-Painting

Wednesday figured as exactly one week since we returned from our extended travels. So I resolved that on Wednesday I would open the boxes containing the paintings I did during the residency and Look At Them. This is not a task to be taken lightly, nor is it for the faint of heart.

But Wednesday was completely taken over by a gift from the universe. It was 70 degrees and the sun was shining. On November 3. In Portland. This is a present that couldn’t be ignored.

I did pull out a few pieces of the art and set them on the easel in preparation for severe criticism and re-working:

There are three paintings on the easel on the left, set up in preparation for — rain! The big blue one beside it also will get my attention — later.

Thus, in order not to dishonor the gift of sun and warmth in November in Portland, Oregon, I took my cart and boards and trundled down to 532 Grand Avenue (Washington and Grand) across the street from the Northwest Bank Building, which formerly housed the Rose and Raindrop Bar, Digger O’Dell’s Bar, and various other things, including (apparently) a crematorium. The building is one that has long deserved a painting or ten.

I sat at the corner on the other side of the street, next to the Slow Bar, which may be or may not be run by My Father’s Place [Saloon] into which I had to venture to make sure no one got hacked off when I occupied their sidewalk. Much to my amazement, I saw people drinking coffee inside. I didn’t know they had coffee in saloons on Grand Avenue, even though just down the block from where I was painting was an espresso café. It seems the area is gentrifying even as I have not been painting it.

At any rate, my painting gear looked something like this on a sunny November day:


But the building is gorgeous:

I am not painting it for its wondrous wayward ways — photos are much better at capturing that kind of detail. But I’m starting my annual Portland series, and Wednesday I got to do number 1. I’m hoping to paint plein air in my wacky urban mode at least once a week, any time the temperature is above 55 and it’s not raining. (These specifications may have to be altered as the winter sets in).

I would like to call this painting “Digger O’Dell’s,” but that was two businesses ago. Maybe I’ll just identify it by its location.

And today is rumored to also be sunny and warm — maybe I’ll have to forgo pulling out those paintings at least one more time. –June

This entry was posted in Art, oil painting, plein air, Portland, southeast Portland and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Gotta Go A-Painting

  1. Reva Basch says:

    I’m obviously way behind on my friends’ blogs, but I have to tell you that that building makes me smile every time I drive up Grand.
    Let’s hope you get many more sunny days to paint in the next few months. (Well, a girl can dream, can’t she?)


  2. june says:

    Martha, glad you learned how to subscribe. I don’t do RSS feeds because I always forget to look at them. But I love the ones that come in on email — those I always check. Of course, I always check Del’s too, ’cause she’s important, even if she does flatter unnecessarily:-) Welcome and I hope you enjoy other posts.


  3. june says:

    Thanks, Del — you know well how welcome the sunshine is. I’m building up my Vit D for the coming months. I also got sunburned on one side of my face (the south side, of course). In November. In Portland. It never occurred to me to use sunscreen. Of course, the backs of my hand look like they belong to someone else, since sunscreen or not, painting in the desert colors your exposed brush-holding hands.

    But Del, you shouldn’t lie like that — the building is old and beautiful — and I am one of the two….


  4. Martha Ginn says:

    I just learned how to subscribe (RSS) and since I like your writing, I caught your newest post. The building is indeed spectacular! I know you will enjoy capturing its essence in paint.


  5. Del says:

    What a wonderful gift that sunshine is. Hope you have many more such gifts in the months ahead. The building is beautiful and so are you.


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